Philosophy - Psychology, what’s the difference.
Posted: 27 February 2009 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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So, what is the difference between philosophy and psychology, and do you think everybody understands that difference?

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Posted: 27 February 2009 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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SidewalkCynic - 27 February 2009 03:23 PM

So, what is the difference between philosophy and psychology, and do you think everybody understands that difference?

The difference between philosophy and psychology is similar, though in an opposite direction, to the difference between psychology and neurology.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 05 March 2009 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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As a psych major I feel compelled to post my two cents.  In the early days of Psychology it was a branch of Philosophy, but now it strives to be more of an empirical science.  Very few psychologist spend their time on questions they can not attempt to test, unlike professors of Philosophy who love to debate unanswerable questions.  Though a lot of the studies in Psychology lack the quantitative hand’s down hard evidence demanded by the so called “hard” sciences, it is still a field of science now. 

Psychology is growing so rapidly in so many directions it is hard to describe it.  Since it is the study of the mind you will find anywhere the mind is in use there an associated field of psychology. Most of the time there are multiple types of psychologist studying the same thing just from different angles.

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Posted: 18 June 2009 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Philosophy is the discipline of thinking about things, while psychology is the discipline of thinking about why we think about things.

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Posted: 11 January 2010 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Philosophy is the discipline of thinking about things, while psychology is the discipline of thinking about why we think about things.

Nicely put grin

I would add a few quick points:

-Natural Philosophy used to cover everything - Botany, Phsychology, Physics, etc, so when we look at historical philosophical texts we find a lot of what we would now term Psychology

-Philosophers often seem adamant that Psychology (or any science for that matter) has nothing to teach them, which I find plainly false

-Philosophy does have some questions that aren’t adressed by Physchology or other sciences, for example Ontology, some bits of Metaphysics, Logic, and so on.

-The best way to proceed is, I think, to just ask interesting questions and try to find the answers, without worrying about illegaly crossing the disciplinary border grin

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Posted: 29 April 2010 06:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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I had the chance to compare the two directly as I major in Psychology and have heard Philosophy as a minor.

chris madden - 18 June 2009 04:57 PM

Philosophy is the discipline of thinking about things, while psychology is the discipline of thinking about why we think about things.

And some of the things Philosophers think about are addressed by Psychology, too wink
I think the main difference is that Psychology is working empirically, whereas Philosophers try to reach their conclusions - more or less - purely by reasoning.
Of course, a lot of Philosophers try to include empirical findings into their writing, as, for example, Daniel Dennett does in “Consciousness Explained”.

Frohicky - 11 January 2010 06:45 PM

Philosophy is the discipline of thinking about things, while psychology is the discipline of thinking about why we think about things.

Philosophers often seem adamant that Psychology (or any science for that matter) has nothing to teach them, which I find plainly false

That’s rather hard on them;-)
True, I know one professor who said that we haven’t learned anything much since Descartes concerning our Nervous system and the relationship between mind and body, citing Descartes’ idea of a Nervous System made of pipelines, and stated that modern conceptions are basically the same.
But other lecturers - and authors - have used examples from Psychology and other sciences to make their points and have accepted outcomes of psychological as valid arguments when they were grading my homework.

One difference appears to be the epistemic standard. Philosophy often calls for logical proof, or clear-cut criteria which, in practice, are hard, if not impossible to deliver. Whereas in psychology, arguments based on plausibility or “best guesses” are generally more accepted. In my first psychology lectures, there was a lot of talk about the principle of falsification and the preliminary nature of any hypothesis or theory. (Of course, the latter ideas also come from philosophy, but they do not seem to play a big role in the methodological inventory of philosophers).

Also, there are differences in the type of question the ask.
Psychologists have to ask very specific questions in order to translate them into a study or experimental design. Sometimes, a lot of effort is invested in small details or sub-aspects of a certain phenomenon. While I think this is worthwhile doing, I think it’s a pity that people rarely try to piece the puzzle together.
Philosophy takes more of a meta-perspective and tries to ask questions that are more over-arching or maybe fundamental – both philosophy of science which does have something to say about how psychologists should work and philosophy of mind which might provide a framework for psychological findings. There are some examples of philosophers being able to point to inconsistencies in psychological positions (e.g. Dennett’s criticism of Libet).

Some would say that there hasn’t been much progress in philosophy and that this is due to the way it works (Or doesn’t).

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